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2019.01.22

【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.148: Negative spiral of the decline in hospitals with a pediatrics/obstetrics/gynecology unit and depopulation

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

The decline in hospitals with a pediatrics and/or obstetrics/gynecology unit is accelerating. As shown in Table 1, the number of general hospitals decreased by 18.5% from 9,022 in 1990 to 7,353 in 2017. The number of hospitals with a pediatrics and/or obstetrics/gynecology unit has seen a sharper decline. As a result, the number of hospitals with a pediatrics unit as a proportion of the number of general hospitals fell from 45.7% to 35.3%. The proportion of hospitals with an obstetrics/gynecology unit also fell from 27.3% to 17.9%.


This is because the number of births has sharply decreased (Figure. 1). A young couple does not choose to live in an area where hospitals with pediatrics/obstetrics/gynecology units have disappeared. Therefore, the depopulation in such an area accelerates. One way to solve this is to guarantee access to pediatrics/obstetrics/gynecology units by integrating hospitals responsible for those medical care services to serve a region with a population of about 500,000.


Table 1: Number of general hospitals with pediatrics and/or obstetrics/gynecology units
148-table1.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Figure 1: Number of births
148-fig1.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare



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